Black Rock Shooter Review


Black Rock Shooter is one of those shows that I knew nothing about except the design of the main fighter. One of the oldest music themes in my favorites list is “Battle of BRS” which may be from this show but I was listening for it during the show and didn’t notice it so maybe it’s from the OVA or something else. Either way it’s cool to be entering into this adventure now and it’s definitely a great show. It’s a fun divide between the human world and the other place where fights rage on forever. It’s short but makes the most of the length.

The show starts off by introducing us to Mato who has had a very fun life up to now. She really enjoys reading a book about the bird who saw a million colors and has lives her life modeled after that. Mato enjoys everything and sees life as being something amazing. When she sees her classmate Yomi is really by herself and not having a good time, Mato tries being her friend. This will be tough though as Yomi is shackled by her sick friend Kagari. Mato will have to learn what it means to go through both emotional and physical pain on this journey of hers but she doesn’t want to stop trying to get Yomi to a better place.

The plot changes over the course of the 8 episodes but a large chunk of this is really about Mato learning that there’s more to life than just pure joy even if it would be cool if that was the case. So by trying to help Yomi she ends up throwing her own life off of the clear path it was on. That’s why throughout the show Mato is just great. She doesn’t get down easy and she’s always going out of her way to help out the other characters. She helps out quite a few characters before this is over.

Now I should talk about the other world. It’s a very interesting concept and one that the show dives into quite a bit by the end. So in this show, every character has an inner self which is quite literal. This self is born to fight on your behalf in the other world. Mato’s counterpart is Black Rock Shooter. So BRS’s objective is to protect Mato’s soul and get rid of anyone who endangers it. It is quite literally a life built for nonstop fighting. There is never an end to the battles and there are always more fighters to battle.

As a result it can be a depressing existence for these beings. Fortunately they are built to have no emotions by default but as we see in the show, it is possible to develop them. So all these years BRS has been fighting off enemies and protecting Mato. I’d say she has done an excellent job of it considering that Mato’s had a near perfect life. It’s important to note that the humans don’t know about their inner selves or at least most don’t. Mato has dreams about BRS on occasion but that’s really the extent of it.

When your inner self is destroyed, you lose all memory of whatever had been causing you pain. So, lets say someone bullied you at school and stole your lunch. Your inner self absorbs that pain and if the despair is too much then it will cause your real self to also be empty inside. If someone destroys your inner self containing the despair, your real self will completely forget it. It’ll be like that deed never happened to you so you now have peace but it’s a false peace since you’ve lost your memory. So one of the trials here is deciding if what BRS is doing is right. After all, aside from protecting Mato she is going around and destroying all of the negative inner selves.

This is helping these other people by conquering their despair. It takes Yomi and Kagari from each being near suicidal to being able to be happy again. So it does seem like a really positive thing but it completely erases all of their bad memories which does have a big impact. There’s a whole debate to be there for sure. My short answer though is that BRS is doing good. She is protecting Mato and if she didn’t destroy those inner selves then they would have possibly destroyed the human hosts as well. It’s hard to say for sure but it definitely seemed to be going that way.

BRS seems like one of the only positive inner selves though. So I wonder if you have to have despair in order to generate one of these or if we just don’t see the positive ones. I am going to assume it’s the latter for now and BRS is intentionally only going after the evil ones. If so, it speaks even better of BRS even if by the end some characters are convinced that she may destroy the entire world. BRS is very determined and gets the job done, that’s definitely very impressive. She is easily my favorite character as well. She takes some really heavy blows and always manages to get back up. Additionally, just imagine what it’s like to be locked into a never ending conflict for years and years at a time. You have to have strong mental fortitude to keep up with that and we see that BRS really is a strong soul.

That’s about all I need to say on the Other World so you get the gist of it. We see several other inner selves of course as each main girl has one and they all try their best to fight off BRS. Aside from Strength none of the others get any real character but the designs are all fun. Of course they do give us a ton of great action scenes as well. It’s all very styalized and is using a noticeably different animation style than in the human world. It helps to make the fights stand out and I definitely liked it quite a lot.

The fights are great throughout and you really feel the blows. If handled wrong this could have been excessively violent but it’s all styalized so it never actually feels that way. The characters are almost like machines fighting and I’d say this is intentional to show how they have been containing the despair for so long and nothing phases them. BRS will be getting pummeled over and over only to jump up and land a powerful combo. The other world scenes are definitely the best part of the show.

Not to say the human stuff is bad, I’ll get onto that shortly. The human stuff is really good too but it’s nice to have a literal battlefield where we see how the emotions are affecting these fighters. It also adds the action genre to the show which is never a bad thing. The fights remind me of Madoka a bit with how everyone has an absolutely massive arsenal where they can spam their attacks at will. These fighters never run out of attacks to use and will fight until one of them is completely destroyed.

So now lets get to the human part which is almost like a different show. Maybe that’s part of what makes the show so effective, it’s like two shows for the price of one as we switch into worlds. For an emotional story like this where Mato is helping everyone out, I’d say a crucial part of whether it succeeds or not depends on how dark each person’s story is. It’s very easy for a show to write everyone going through absolutely horrible tragedies where the scars will be with them forever. Fortunately the show has a lot of restraint and while all of the characters are in bad situations, it never crosses that line.

The darkest situation is the first friend for sure which is Yomi. So here’s the situation. When they were kids, Yomi was best friends with Kagari. Unfortunately Kagari got injured and blames Yomi for this. Yomi must now play with her and her alone at all times. If she tries to play with anyone else Yomi will guilt trip her further. Unfortunately Yomi’s mother is also in on this and doesn’t notice how Kagari completely terrorizes her the whole time. Yomi is now too scared to do much of anything and even allows Kagari to physically injure her. This is where Mato steps in to save the day.

This is the kind of situation though where I have to blame Yomi quite a lot though. I get why she feels guilt here but at the end of the day the injury was actually more on Kagari when you think about it. Additionally, guilt can only go too far. Yomi has already given Kagari many years but when it comes to letting your friend stab you and scare everyone away that’s just going way too far. I wanted to see Yomi stick up for herself a bit here. It’s a character arc I’ve seen before definitely and each time I think it just goes way too far.

Yomi ended up being my least favorite character in the series as she just keeps sinking even after the arc. You’d think that the experience of having a possessive, abusive friend would help Yomi learn what not to do in friendship. Instead she becomes unreasonably jealous of Mato’s other friend Kotari. It would have been so easy for the 3 of them to be friends. Mato and Kotari were both all for it but Yomi of course had to make sure this couldn’t happen. It takes forever for Yomi to finally turn into a decent character. In a sequel I’m sure she would look better but in this show she was really annoying with how this all ended up. I still think there was no reason for her to go off the deep end. (Not gonna blame the inner self for any of this)

Kagari was of course an awful bully in the first half but fortunately after BRS saved the day she was able to become a good character. I mean she still has some moments that seem off like when she yells Yomi not to be too clingy but I guess she was trying to be nice about how she framed it and just didn’t know how to do it. It’s hard to just forget about the first half so I wouldn’t say Kagari is a good character. She is on a good track to be a better person going forward though.

Another character who needed help was Arata. Her situation isn’t nearly as bad though. Basically she likes a guy but he’s a wimp who lets his friends make fun of her for that and does nothing to stop them. Now that Arata had her heart trampled on like this she has retreated within herself. She has always internalized all of her issues and believes that anything bad that happens is her own fault. It’s a rationale she uses to make sure that she never gets sad but of course this is catching up to her. It doesn’t help that Saya is always making some little comments about this but I’ll talk more about her shortly. I liked Arata quite a lot though.

Internalizing like that isn’t healthy but it is certainly better than blowing up at the other characters and causing a scene. Arata never does that and does ultimately stand by her ideals of rising or falling on her own merits. You’re rooting for her to have a happy ending by the end of all this. Her inner self is probably the weakest one as she doesn’t really fight but it makes sense. Her inner self has no despair to absorb since Arata keeps it to herself and the inner self probably doesn’t even know what to do at this point.

Now lets talk about Saya. So for most of the series Saya was my favorite villain. She’s the counselor at the school but her actual role is the opposite. She will call in a student who is having a bad time and will intentionally give them bad advice. For example Yomi arrives in a very bad mental state and Saya tells her that nobody needs her. Arata mentions how things went badly for her and Saya basically says that’s a good thing. Mato goes in for help and Saya literally starts choking her before saying that she lost control for a sec.

It’s how not subtle Saya is that really sells the character for me. It’s also just surreal because I’ve never seen a character like this. Everyone is caught up in their feels so nobody ever complains about her to the administration so Saya’s really in the clear. The comments are always obvious but when the character questions this Saya will say that she misspoke or just do the classic “Huh?”. It’s very twisted of course since this is a villain who only targets you when you’re already down and in a delicate headspace. It’s why this makes her so unique as a villain though. She doesn’t do anything over the top, she’s not using swear words, beating people up, or doing anything crazy. She’s just using mild comments but ones that are specifically tailored to each character to maximize how hard they will take the comment. Now there are some twists about this that make you think about her character some more. It’s an interesting twist but whether it truly helps her or not can be debatable.

Finally we have Mato’s best friend Kotari and from the start you probably figured that something would happen to her eventually. She’s always happy and cheering Mato on so clearly something is wrong here right? Well, she gets quite a lot of development such as a burning house and growing up in an awful household. It’s certainly not a good situation for her and like Arata she seems to internalize this. At least..that seems to be the case at first. So the next 5 paragraphs are pretty big spoilers so avoid them if you haven’t seen the show yet. This will also tie into Saya as I untangle this a bit. Get ready to skip nowwwwwwwww.

Begin Spoilers. So Kotari actually switched places with her inner self “Strength”. How is this possible? Anything is possible in these things if you believe hard enough. So now Kotari is the one who receives all of the despair and it’s sort of driven her crazy. She has a whole speech about this at the end where she’s screaming about how it hurts but how she’s also still here and she won’t let the pain beat her. The speech itself could be rather inspirational if she wasn’t so crazy by this point trying to murder BRS. The message is good how Kotari has been through a lot but won’t let the pain define her. At the same time, Kotari has completely abandoned the human world so is she really dealing with the pain or avoiding it? She’s clearly been through a lot and was a really good character.

Then of course the character we thought was Kotari for most of the series was actually Strength. As a result I can safely say that Strength is a great character as well. She takes a lot of risks to help Mato throughout the series and was really a nice person to everyone. It seems like she takes her life very seriously since she knows first hand how any sadness would affect the real Kotari in her world. So the setup they have is pretty good and it’s a credit to both characters. Ultimately this can’t last though and the real Kotari will need to go back and hang out with everyone. Hopefully she still has all the memories of Strength and knows what is going on or school’s gonna feel crazy.

Now lets talk about Saya’s plan. It turns out that there was a method to her madness. So she was intentionally breaking each student down to expose their true selves so BRS could destroy them. This would grant the students their inner peace. Then once BRS had absorbed all of that negativity, Saya would destroy her so then Mato would be free and everyone would be free of despair. It’s one of those plans that doesn’t sound crazy at first glance. If Saya succeeds then everyone will be happy so isn’t that good?

Well, it would be except how can she beat BRS? We see how powerful BRS is in every fight and she seems to get stronger after each adventure. Saya’s inner self is powerful as well but definitely not on the same level. Maybe the fact that Saya seems to pretty much be able to control her inner self would make her stronger but I still see no way to close the gap. Saya is also tempted to murder Mato at one point which would have really not solved anything and would have made everything worse. I don’t think BRS ever needed to die though as she only happened to go crazy because of the failed fusion with Mato. Otherwise I think she would have stopped once the threats were gone. So Saya’s plan was very convoluted and was no good.

Here’s another huge flaw in the plan. What if she broke down Yomi and the others too well and they ended up doing something they’d regret? If they died then her plan would have been completely off the rails since she would have indirectly murdered the people she was trying to help. That’s why I think they should have played it straight and kept Saya as a villain. Make her the final boss and that would have been more satisfying. This plan just doesn’t make much sense to me even if it was well intentioned. Reminds me of Athena’s plans in that sense. Plus Saya was just so much fun as a villain. Ah well.

End spoilers. As mentioned, Mato is a great main character so that wraps up what I would consider to be a very impressive lineup here. You really won’t have any issues with Mato because she does her best to protect everyone at all times. She is willing to put her physical and emotional selves in jeopardy to help out as well. Mato really doesn’t hesitate to put herself in harm’s way and while it ends up hurting her, she’s okay if she has helped someone. You can’t ask for much more out of a hero.

The animation for the human world is good too. It may not stand out as much as the inner world but of course that’s because we don’t have big action scenes in the real world. Either way it works well as the animations and designs are on point. The soundtrack is also good. I wouldn’t say there are any really standout themes but the battle theme is good. The opening and ending are okay but I wouldn’t say they are too memorable. I don’t think you’ll be humming these tunes after the show ends or anything like that.

Black Rock Shooter works in large part because of the writing. Of course the fights are good as well but this is really a show that could have gone sideways. Writing an emotional show will always be tougher than a standard action one because you have to be sad without being too tragic. It’s a tight line that you have to walk and this show did a great job with it. It’s why it ended up surpassing expectations for me and is definitely a top notch show that I would recommend checking out. At only 8 episodes you’ll be done with this one in a flash. The story breezes by and the pacing is always quick so you can’t go wrong here.

Overall, Black Rock Shooter is a great show that is emotional by day and action packed by night. The contrast between both worlds is really handled excellently. I would be cool with a whole show for either world but by merging it like this you really get a complete adventure. From the two though, a full show for BRS in her world would be a lot of fun. Since nobody there talks though I can see why this would have to be more of a sub plot though. I mean, not that they can’t talk but as emotionless fighters they don’t tend to talk much. Only BRS and Strength really show any kind of emotion here. Well, it’s nice to know the story behind the fun battle song “Battle of BRS” now. I’d recommend looking up that tune if you haven’t yet and of course you should check this show out if you’re up for a solid adventure.

Overall 8/10

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Season 2 Review


Slime season 2 feels like the biggest glow up I’ve seen between seasons since Mob Psycho. Now it may not seem nearly as drastic just looking at the score but I would say it can take a whole lot of effort to go up from being a 7 which is pretty good to being an 8 which is truly great. Additionally I was tempted to push this all the way up to a 9 but I told myself I needed to calm down. The entire last chunk of the season was incredible but I had to carefully factor in what I would consider to be a very rough start. Ultimately the series was able to pull itself up rather well and I’m definitely looking forward to season 3 more than I would have been before.

I would say there are really 2 main arcs here. The second arc is really the highlight but the first one is solid too. It’s just the opening episodes before that which get tricky. So life is good and Rimuru is still building up his alliance in Tempest. At this point he already has a Demon Lord on his side as well as the incredibly powerful Vendora and hundreds of powerful warriors. Perhaps he will be the one to achieve world peace. In the meantime though he has to meet with powerful politicians and share drinks and such.

So this arc was pretty weak….but I consider this to be pre arc. For around 3-4 episodes it just feels like not much is happening. Rimuru is socializing I suppose but it feels like an excuse for just lots of fanservice and not much else. It was a weaker start than season 1 so I was a bit nervous here. I mean the production values are still great and all but where was the fun story? I would even say there wasn’t a ton of world building here. Fortunately that changes when the outside kingdoms decide to attack Tempest which is what really sets off Arc 1 for real. The Kingdom of Falmuth hatches a plan along with the holy Church. They will send 3 humans to frame the monsters for an attack which will give justification for these guys to murder everyone. Meanwhile Rimuru will be held at bay by Hinata, one of the Church’s most powerful fighters. Can Rimuru get back in time to win?

This was great and for another show you might have expected this to be the climax of the season. First off, we now know that there are more humans in the world which is a really big deal. We do know that humans are summoned and saw two of them in season 1 but now you have a fighting force of evil ones. Each human is also shown to be exceptionally powerful as they are treated as a powerful race in this world. As a sidenote, it is nice to see humans actually looking really tough as opposed to just being fodder in these fantasy settings. This also helps make the world feel even bigger as these 3 could be twisted leads in their own isekai adventures and now Rimuru has to take care of them. All 3 of these humans are complete villains of course so Rimnuru does have to hurry.

Another reason why the arc stands out is because Rimuru faces his first true challenge in quite a while. Due to the double barrier in place, all of his abilities have been greatly sealed while Hinata is at full power. This does tell me that Rimuru is already much stronger but of course excuses won’t matter if he’s dead. This was a great plan from Hinata from start to finish and I appreciated her confidence. This was absolutely a great fight as well and by this point in the show (Which is still fairly early) I knew that season 2 was going to rebound quite well from those opening episodes. You can almost skip those and not miss much tbh.

Hinata’s skill is something of a mystery though. By the end of the season we see her scaring opponents who are potentially even stronger than a demon lord or at least one with the rank but true power is more of a pseudo demon lord. So in theory Hinata wouldn’t even need Rimuru’s powers to be limited to stop him unless Rimuru had already passed that level. I’m inclined to say he had not at the time but his Gluttony ability bypasses defense so maybe that’s something she knew she had to avoid. Either way this is an arc with a lot of action and an incredible climax which even involves Diablo showing up. Rimuru also gets a big power up which will certainly be handy for later on.

After that we get a break in the action for a while as the next episodes are all meetings after meetings. I actually liked these episodes quite a lot though compared to the non action ones from before. For starters these are all serious meetings and not just an excuse to have a lot of fanservice the whole time. Additionally, I’m always up for a good strategy meeting so it’s nice to see everyone hanging out. It certainly could have been sped up but it’s fine either way. We also get a quick villain meeting which is a lot of fun and sets up the new characters as everyone gets ready for the main meeting.

See, the demon lords have a meeting for Walpurgis whenever there is something big to discuss. Clayman has summoned everyone for important news and now that Rimuru is so powerful and has the rank, he will be in attendance as well. Clayman has been the mastermind for pretty much every event in season 1 and 2 so Rimuru needs to be there to see his future plans and also to throw some threat around. Each demon lord can bring up to 2 attendants as well in case any funny business happens. That said, the attendants would likely be out of luck anyway though.

Meanwhile, Rimuru wants to take the initiative against Clayman and his forces this time so he’s having his army attack Clayman’s while they are both at the meeting. That means they are all sent to different areas to take down Clayman’s Five Fingers, a group of elite fighters. Given how powerful Rimuru’s guys are this is as much of a stomp as you can imagine but we do get a lot of great fights as a result. Even some of Rimuru’s fighters who don’t seem like offensive specialists show what they’ve got when it counts.

I would say this arc even beat the first one. It’s just the perfect climax to everything the series was building up to. Clayman may have looked really bad to the point where I wrote an editorial about one mistake that he made but it was still good to have him as the final boss. It made sense to get him out of the way and now every demon lord has to respect Rimuru and his abilities. You certainly can’t trust any of these demon lords either so that sets up a lot of interesting paths for the future. It’s really hard to say how things will play out as a result since everyone is keeping their cards close to the chest.

I have an eventual editorial coming up about the power levels in the series and discussing how powerful the heroes are so I won’t go into too much detail here. I will say that this is one of the most interesting parts of the series though. There are an absolute ton of factions running around and there are so many big shots that you will be curious how they all stack up to each other. You have the Demon Lords, Elder Demon Lords, Hinata, Diablo, Rimuru, Veldora, etc. Each of these guys have claims to be some of the strongest in the verse but who really outranks each other? Throw in the Clowns who seem to be exceptionally powerful with the fact that Hinata likely has her own bosses and it makes things very interesting. Veldora also isn’t the only dragon. So I won’t start ranking them here based on what I believe to be the correct ladder, but it’s something that Slime does quite well.

I dare say that only perhaps One Piece has more active factions and power level discussions that come from it. Otherwise it’s hard to top Slime with how many moving parts there are and it makes all the fight scenes even more interesting. Another reason why this show is so great is because you are always wondering what is going to happen next. Who will make their move and how will the world change as a result of it? While the Slime show loves its peaceful talks you know that eventually battles are going to break out.

At the same time you are never worried for the main characters though. Rimuru’s army is far too powerful to be endangered by anyone or at least it seems that way. Perhaps before he got a power up but in this season Rimuru gets a massive one which means that he greatly outranks almost every character in the series. While that may be a wrap for most of the tension here, you can still get some similar to One Punch Man by keeping Rimuru out of it. Much like that series I think this one was effective at pulling that off by giving the other characters their own big fights.

It doesn’t hurt that the animation is exceptional. There is a great deal of budget behind each fight with a lot of quick moves and solid special effects. Each battle stands out with the sharp colors and you will be on board right from the start. At no point in the season do you feel like the animation falters at all. Then you have the soundtrack which is also greatly improved from the first season. Surprisingly it feels like a lot of the season 1 battle themes have been completely discarded and replaced. I’m cool with that because these themes are just better. “Going Forward and Backward” for example is my favorite track in the show and it fortunately plays for almost all of the battles. It’s a great theme that immediately increases the tempo and gets you ready for a top notch battle.

I also greatly enjoyed the new theme song that plays for the second half of the show. (First is good too but not in the same league) Now this is a top tier opening with incredible visuals and a really catchy song. I’ve certainly listened to it a fair number of times. It’s also a good first look at Rimuru’s new costume even if he doesn’t wear it much in the season. I wish he would stick to that one because it’s easily his best one. It’s also fun that we’ve finally gotten to the Hinata fight since it felt like it was in the first 3 openings because they never knew when the fight was going to be adapted. Still feels off with how long it took but I guess the animators were really looking forward to that moment.

Rimuru continues to look good in this season and works well as the main character I think sometimes he doesn’t trust his own abilities as well as he should though and gets nervous over nothing. Still, gone are the days when he wasn’t really sure what to do. He’s now learned well how to be a true leader and takes command when needed. It’s hard to believe that the guy was just an ordinary joe not too long ago. Now Rimuru isn’t trying to be a hero but he is doing his best to be a leader who watches out for the people.

For example at one point he has to destroy I think it’s 100,000 people in order to bring back a few hundred. It was a no brainer for him since these guys were on the villain’s side and he needed to get his people back. Perhaps not what a hero would do there as this is the definition of trading lives for lives but it is something you would expect your king or leader to do for you. Rimuru set a strong example for his fighters that he will defend them at all times without exception. You also may feel like he didn’t need another power boost, but why not right? At this point it feels like Rimuru has to be top 10 in the verse at the minimum and I would argue he is likely stronger than that. We probably won’t know for a while.

Either way, Rimuru is able to hold his own seasons really well and had a good rage moment at Clayman when he struck Milim. That was a good way to know that Rimuru was for real. Meanwhile Great Sage is also fun. At this point it’s fair to say that she’s basically a character as she can take control of Rimuru’s body if he allows it so she can fight. Additionally she is always giving out helpful information and is almost like a sidekick that Rimuru can count on. She has a lot of attitude but that just helps for the banter.

After what feels like ages we finally get to see Veldora in his human form in this season. It’s nice to have him out of the prison for a change and his human form has a lot of fun with the cast. He is incredibly powerful as you would expect and certainly doesn’t back down to anybody. He gets a brief fight at the end which will cause you to really wonder about where he stacks up as well. Either way Rimuru has another good friend now and I think Veldora will fit in with everyone really well. He had a great first impression on them after all.

I’m still not a big fan of Gobta but I will give him credit for immediately believing his friend when the humans tried to frame him. Gobta wasn’t having any of that and that’s good because your friend should always have your back when it counts. So he may not be a great fighter but he’s a good friend. Meanwhile Benimaru gets a chance to show what he’s got as well. As always he seems to be the most impressive from his family of fighters and hasn’t really had to break a sweat. He even takes down a very powerful villain from season 1 in an instant which is very impressive. I don’t think he’s demon lord level but this guy can hold his own against anyone under that.

Shuna has her very best appearance in this season. Usually she just appears as the rather quiet and timid princess but here we get to see what she can do on the battlefield. Sure enough, she doesn’t need backup or for other fighters to protect her. She takes one on of Clayman’s leaders and shows him just how outclassed he is against her. Shuna’s magical spells are very impressive and she can be ruthless in combat. Now whenever she stays at the village we know that it’s in good hands.

Shion also looks great here and had one of the biggest improvements from season 1. She has really settled into her role as being Rimuru’s right hand woman and makes sure that nobody slanders him. When the villains start being sassy she quickly takes them out. While she mainly seemed evenly matched with Suphia, I think we all know that she would have won in the end with her big energy attack. Shion even takes a demon lord near the end which is further evidence of her power. In a true one on one fight she will not be going down easy that’s for sure. Her loyalty is also just great and she’s a fun character through and through.

Souei is the ninja of the group and his speed is always very impressive. He doesn’t look quite as powerful as the others but he gets less opportunity to fight like that. When he does join the fray you can usually count on him to get a win or look pretty good either way. The mentor of the group Hakuro gets a pair of fights to himself. The first fight doesn’t go very well for him but the deck was stacked against the guy. Once he is able to fight at full power then everything changes immediately.

Ranga is still around and while he doesn’t really get anything super big to do, he is always a loyal fighter for Rimuru. His ability to hide within shadows is handy and he gets a fight at the end but it’s mostly off screen. Now Milim is a character who gets a whole lot to do. I’m not sure about some of the twists with her though. There is a particularly big one near the end that will reframe all of her actions throughout the season but I’m just not sure that I buy it at all. Seems like a really convoluted way to go about things and it just doesn’t seem to make sense with the flashbacks of around when her plan would have started.

Either way it does show that she has great self restraint though. The characters rightfully do call her out on how this was rather irresponsible but I don’t think she seems too apologetic by the end of this. She is powerful enough where nobody would want to mess with her anyway though. She is one of the 3 top level demon lords after all so there’s almost nobody in the verse who could hope to beat her anyway. It’s why Rimuru got so lucky in having her as an ally.

Speaking of allies, Geld gets to have his first bit of action now that he is a part of Rimuru’s army and he looks good. His raw power is able to overwhelm his opponent’s regeneration. It’s a really intense fight to be sure as he just keeps pounding away at his opponent until the guy just can’t get up anymore. If not for outside help he would have ended things right there. As a power type I’m usually not going to think Geld will win much but he did really well here that’s for sure.

Unfortunately Diablo has not done much yet but he’s certainly a character that you will want to keep a real close eye on. He gets one fight in the season and it’s a really impressive one because he is able to easily overwhelm his opponent who is supposed to be incredibly powerful. In fact, we know he is based on previous appearances so the fact that Diablo is basically able to dumpster the guy is crazy. I have really high hopes for what Diablo will be doing in the future.

Yohm is an adventurer who gets a much bigger role here. He’s a nice guy who may not be extremely powerful but does rather well for himself with a sword. He has a bit of a romance with Myulan going. There is a rival in Grucius but you know that Yohm is the only one with a chance from the start. They three of them have a good dynamic though. I do think Yohm doesn’t handle the situation with Myulan very well though. As soon as things started to get fishy I would have liked for him to have been yelling for backup or trying to interrupt her technique. That would have made a world of difference for Tempest.

Of course things go well for Tempest but otherwise a whole lot of blame would be on Yohm. The most blame would be on Myulan though…you know for being the actual traitor. Ultimately she was under a bad circumstance here but still went through with all of this. Grucius gets some credit for trying to stop this from happening even if he wasn’t successful. I like his confidence but Grucius really doesn’t get any big wins here.

Then we get to good ole Clayman. The man with the worst plan possible and he makes mistakes at every turn. He really was in a good position initially but showed his cards too early and it cost him. Due to some twists it is even worse for him as we learn that Clayman was doomed for the start. He tries for some sympathy points at the end but Clayman was way too far gone by this point. No way you would really sympathize with that guy much. The situation is entirely of his making and now he has to live it.

Meanwhile the Jesters are interesting wild cards right now. They seem to work for Clayman’s boss and are really confident in their skills. It seems like they might all be Demon Lord level and if that’s the case then the heroes could really be in some trouble now. We’ll see how that plays out. Carrion doesn’t look great as far as demon lords go but to his defense, everyone would lose to Milim really. Or at least most of them would but when you factor in that she was sandbagging a bit then it gets really tricky for him. Ultimately it’s probably a good idea that he has decided to work for her though.

Ramiris might be the weakest demon lord here but she works well in the comic relief role. I like to think that she must have a crazy support ability to have become a demon lord though. Surely you can’t make it to that rank without having some kind of ability right? So I’m skeptical at how weak she is and figure she must be hiding something. All of the Demon Lords show up of course and while some are more impressive than others, they all seem like they can fight so something has to be going on here.

Leon is another one of the demon lords and he looks impressive. The guy hasn’t fought yet or anything but he has a confident atmosphere about him and doesn’t back down from a fight. Even Crimson who seems to be at the top regards him with a good amount of respect. While Crimon is always joking around you can tell that he does mean it when he says he would help Leon out if he was in a jam. I like the comradery between the demon lords. I’m sure some of them would backstab the others in a second but for others I do think they would be good friends. take Demon Lord Frey and Milim. They seem like good friends and Frey isn’t really the ambitious type so I don’t think she would have much motive to go around seeking more power. After all they’ve been demon lords for a while so I doubt they want anything to disrupt the balance of power. It’s why things should get crazy once that breaks down.

For miscellaneous characters first we have Suphia. She is one of the beast warriors and fights rather well. I like how aggressive she is and that makes the fight with Shion really good. Then you have the mysterious Yuuki. Remember that he did block Rimuru’s full powered punch when they first met so he can certainly fight. As a bit of a secret mastermind I could see him being a huge focus in season 3 unless he is truly the end game goal. Then there is Hinata who is a bit of a wild card since we don’t really know how the Holy Church will play into things. They seem corrupt already but at the same time I would assume that they won’t openly team up with the demon lords. I would love to see them as a true third party that causes trouble for both sides. Hinata has the raw power to pull this off after all.

The Church is manipulating her but I don’t think that’ll last forever. The question will be if she ends up joining the Tempest Federation or not. Personally I think she will just to make Rimuru’s army of unbeatable fighters even more impressive. Yamza is definitely Clayman’s most impressive minion. The guy can fight really well with a sword and while he was never a threat to the heroes, he looked way better than the other fingers. I wouldn’t have minded seeing him more that’s for sure, but I should be satisfied with his appearances here.

Middray and Hermes are fun characters who serve Milim even if she doesn’t seem to know about the Dragon Faithful group. Hermes is more of a rookie so he tends to lose his cool a bit. I don’t blame him for wanting to fight off Yamza though especially if he believes he could win. The whole arrangement seems one sided for Clayman’s army. Once again, the twist about Milim doesn’t help for scenes like this where they are only standing down because she has cosigned all of this. Not a great move that’s for sure.

I don’t agree with Middray allowing all of this disrespect though. He definitely has to defend himself when the villains are going in like this. It would go a long way to building up the kingdom’s credibility. Especially since he does seem very powerful. Not as strong as Benimaru or anything like that but he can take on many other fighters. Then we have Albis who is one of the stronger beast warriors. She has a full super form and everything which is always tough to defeat. She was the one fighting Yamza too who is an impressive opponent to be going up against.

Then we have the 3 otherworlders. They’re all total villains but made for entertaining characters. First up is Kirara who has the ability to hypnotize people so they agree with her. This doesn’t work in the wonderful realm of Tempest though since the demons can block that ability from working. She can also heal though which is very handy. Things don’t end very well for her though and it’s why you never want to be in a group of villains for very long. They will always turn on you.

Then you have Kyoya who is always acting very polite but it seems to be an act as he is just as crazy as the others. It only comes out during a fight when he’s winning though. Otherwise the guy stays quiet and tries not to make a scene. His sword skills are impressive as is his future sight. With that he can dodge attacks easily. His abilities feel like something an isekai lead could have too so it helps with the whole image of these guys being reverse leads. The otherworlders give us some of the top fights in the season too so credit there.

Finally you have Shogo who is effectively the leader here. He can punch really hard and his berserk skill improves his stats even more. That really makes him hard to stop. He ends up taking a whole lot of punishment as the fights go on though. He can dish it out but he certainly can’t take it. I like how the guy is always yelling but he’s definitely not a villain you can count on. Ultimately Razen gets the best of him but things don’t even go very well for that guy either. I liked Razen’s confidence though. I thought his arc was going to be a lot longer and that he would show up later but it just wasn’t in the cards for him.

That wraps up most of the characters in this season. Of course there are a considerable amount of other characters that I haven’t mentioned like the various kings, other members of Tempest, etc but the cast is exceptionally large so mentioning them all would take quite a while. It’s really an excellent cast and that’s part of what makes the show work so well. No matter what plot they go to you can bet that something interesting will be happening. Season 2 is quite busy with all of the plots and sub plots going on.

The show is really a blast and it’s also a very calming title. For most of the show you never feel like the heroes are in danger so you enjoy the spectacle of all the fights without worrying about the heroes much. There is a tense moment in arc 1 to be sure before Rimuru gets his power up but it’s safe to say that after that you don’t get a very serious moment like that again where you think this might get ugly for the heroes. It probably wouldn’t work if every show started making things too easy on the heroes but it’s just rare enough where it works as a change of pace. You’ll be having a good time throughout.

Even when the fights are not ongoing the show has a good amount of humor and solid writing to carry it at all times. Really the only problem with the show here that keeps it from being a 9 is that the fanservice can be quite excessive. Particularly in the opening episodes there is a lot of fanservice and it just keeps on coming. After that the show dials it back to more of a normal amount. Slime isn’t really the kind of series that ever totally gets past this issue but at least it’s mild enough where it takes a decisive back seat to everything else going on. It’s Rimuru’s primary concern when meeting one of the demon lords which is unfortunate for his character. I did say he is improved from season 1 a lot with experience and all but this is still an unfortunate trait of his.

Overall, You’ll definitely have a really good time with this season. Slime has certainly improved since its days in season 1. The animation and soundtrack have never been better. The story is also at an all time high and the pacing is good. The fights are on point and you’ll just be having a great time here. There is just so much action and no matter who is fighting you know you’re in for a treat. The power levels being mysterious is also good since it allows the series to go in a lot of different directions for the next season. Once we know that Rimuru really is the strongest then that’ll probably limit what it can do to an extent. Either way you’ll want to check this one out.

Overall 8/10

Hyde and Closer Review


It’s time for an action series that isn’t super well known. It’s certainly on the more obscure side I’d say as even I hadn’t heard of it before starting the series. It feels like Reborn in a lot of ways with how the main character isn’t very brave but the chibi mobster helps him learn how to defend himself and fight back. Only instead of a baby gangster it is a toy gangster. So there’s a lot of similarities there but while this series never makes it up to Reborn’s level, I would say it’s still a pretty good title.

The manga starts out with introducing us to Shunpei who is a nervous wreck and never really developed his magical abilities. His grandfather Alsyd is known as the greatest sorcerer in the world and always leaves souvenirs for Shunpei. Well, one day the grandpa vanishes but not before leaving Shunpei with a stuffed bear named Hyde. Shunpei’s too old for toys but when he is attacked by one, Hyde is the only one able to come to his rescue. Hyde explains that sorcerers all over the world are going to be going after Shunpei to take him down for good. Each Sorcerer uses a toy of their own and if Shunpei wants to live through this then he’s going to have to man up and work with Hyde. Shunpei isn’t thrilled about any of this but doesn’t have much of a choice and he is worried about his grandpa.

The manga’s reasonably short at 7 volumes but gets to do quite a bit before the ending suddenly blazes in and everything just ends. It’s a very retro kind of story that feels old while you’re reading it. Not in a bad way per say but you can immediately tell that this isn’t a newer manga. Likewise the art is a bit old like that but it works out well enough for the fights. It’s the kind of artstyle that can get a little busy during the fight scenes so the pages may take longer to read. I would still say it looks good though, not very good or anything but it gets the job done. The series has quite a lot of action and all so it’s reasonably balanced. It just never hits its stride and becomes a great manga.

I would say that’s in part due to the characters. The cast isn’t bad but they’re not great and that seems to sum up most of the manga. A lot of the villains are quite forgettable and the side characters were only just coming into their own by the end. The strongest aspect of the story is the whole toys angle as that’s fairly unique. I also like the idea of the curses bouncing back at the user if they lose a fight. It makes each battle more high stakes for the villain for a change which is certainly a twist.

Shunpei starts out as a very underwhelming main character because I never like the nervous types but he really turns things around in the second half. I haven’t seen such a big turnaround in a minute but he gets very serious and is suddenly jumping into fights. Shunpei learned how to use the barrier skill which was his first big power up and he certainly does make the most of it. While it’s not an offensive move, it can protect him from almost all attacks. I suppose in that sense it’s more of an absolute domain since he creates the rules within the pocket he draws. Shunpei could directly contribute this way and when you mix in his confidence, that definitely helped a lot. You almost don’t recognize the guy from the first half.

Then you have Hyde who isn’t quite as charismatic as Reborn but he has the tough guy personality where he talks like a mafia member. He really wants Shunpei to learn what it is to be a man and has a lot of speeches for it. I like his personality and what they are going for here but the only underwhelming part is I feel like he’s quite weak half the time. He needs Shunpei to take out the Chainsaw from his back during the first fight and that seemed like a huge weakness. After that Hyde is able to fight on his own but he seems to “Meet his Match” in just about every fight so Shunpei needs to help out. I would expect more out of Alysd’s most powerful creation. I know he is always running on low energy due to plot reasons but I would have liked for him to have gotten more solo wins before he was outmatched.

As for the grandfather, he misses out on most of the story of course. When he does appear, Alsyd does look good though and lives up to his hype as the greatest sorcerer. The manga has a good reason for keeping him out of the action for so long even if it’s a shame that he had no way to contact anyone. He certainly performed his part well and bought the characters a whole lot of time. He’s one of those manga old guys who seemed to have gotten even more powerful with age given how long he was able to hold out without food or drink.

Tatsumi is the main heroine here and she’s fun enough. She reminds me of the heroine from Law of Ueki although she doesn’t actively help out in the fights quite on the same level. Tatsumi gets to see Shunpei’s character development first hand and is always around to support him. I wouldn’t say she ever makes a mistake of trips up and remains a loyal ally throughout the whole series.

The first big character to show up is Shindou as the first assassin to be going after Shunpei. He uses his doll Tomiko in order to fight and her hair is indestructible. Their dynamic is very similar to Yuta’s from JJK. A curse is essentially the reason why Tomiko is a doll now and Shindou fights in part to get rid of that curse. As a rite of passage usually the first villains are the ones who have the greatest chance of becoming a hero and he does end up helping Shunpei for most of the series. He’s the smart member of the group and is always careful to measure the odds. I liked him well enough and Tomiko was a good fighter. She’s the best shield you can have and is really the one doing all the heavy lifting since Shindou can’t fight at the same level. This series is all about teamwork and since these two have such a strong bond, they were in a good spot from the start.

Kazan is another one of the allies who helps out Shunpei. He protects a lot of kids but feels guilt over having murdered someone by accident. While he was ultimately forgiven and not hanged as a result, it took him a while to come to terms with that. Nothing a good speech and beating from Hyde won’t cure though. Kazan’s the tough kind of character who will rush into action but isn’t quite as powerful as some of the other members. His doll Desmond also feels weaker than the others. I like the suit of armor but beyond that it doesn’t feel like he has a game changing ability like Hyde or Tomiko.

Ana is another one of the fighters who wants Shunpei’s power. Initially she appears as a villain due to that and then gradually becomes another one of the allies. She actually gets a full backstory which ties into one of the villains later on and so she has a big role throughout the series. Her doll is one of the more versatile ones with the boombox abilities and music type skills although I would say that it lacks the raw power that some of the others have.

Then there’s Pacqwa who is an items seller but the gimmick is that she isn’t very good at being a seller which I wasn’t a fan of. I feel like she could have put more effort into her craft. Ultimately it works out since Shunpei is able to believe hard enough though and belief is how you get the magic to function in these things. He really had to do all of the work though so I hope she will improve in time for a sequel series some day.

There are a ton of one shot villains here of course which is good since that way you won’t be able to tell which ones will turn good and which ones are doomed. The more evil they are, the stronger the curse is when they lose so some of these guys end up dying or being sent to the hospital in critical condition. Either way, it’s a good explanation for why these guys don’t return since they won’t be in a position to do so for a very long time.

Schubert was personally one of my favorite villains. The guy’s a rich CEO and so of course he has a lot of toys. With his ability he is able to use tons of them at a time and it’s very much a quantity over quality kind of thing. Even with that he is able to give the heroes a good fight though and I would say he was the most impressive villain in the series. He really had them on the ropes for most of the fight and why does he want the power? Because as CEO he just wants everything of course. The reason is so simple that you just can’t help but find it funny. This guy was just a blast.

Enrique is another one of the villains who is ultimately being manipulated here. He thought that he needed to take Shunpei down and really went for it but the hero realized that something was up and didn’t finish him. Not that Shunpei finishes most of his opponents off but he was able to end the fight before the curse could flip so nothing really bad happens to Enrique. Nice enough kid but he definitely needs to be careful not to trust too easily.

Now as for The Watcher in the Window….this guy isn’t all that great. It’s probably the biggest risk of having a villain who is always hiding in the shadows when the series has to quickly end. He doesn’t really get to do anything until the very end where he is quickly dispatched. There’s no time to really get to enjoy his character or anything and since he loses quickly…he doesn’t look as impressive as he could be. Now, he is certainly powerful and deserves to be the final boss but I would have liked him to have done something a whole lot sooner. The egg plan wasn’t even that bad in terms of unlocking pure evil but the watcher’s whole character arc goes so fast that it’ll leave your head spinning. I would have handled his character in a different way as the potential there was great. Still, I imagine the author had different plans too.

There are a few more villains we should talk about though. Next up is Punch, he’s ultimately one of the stronger opponents and makes for a good rival to Hyde. Their battle goes to the wire and it’s always good to have the dark version of the lead show up. In a lot of ways he is like an alternate look on what would happen if Hyde turned evil. Fortunately that was never in the cards as it would go firmly against Hyde’s code of ethics.

Ronove is completely psychotic and basically just likes to see people and things die. She started from plants and went all the way to people with this. I can’t say that I liked her right from the jump. The psychotic villains like this tend to just be so over the top that there no longer is anything interesting about them. I’d rather if she had a lot of plans and ideas but instead she is just crazy with no bigger goals than dishing out pain. Of course her boss has big plans but she is only following to inflict damage. Her character was just sort of doomed but I can acknowledge that her flames made her one of the most powerful villains in the series. Possibly second to the Watcher.

Finally you have her partner Asmodai who is also evil from the jump. In fact, he was murdering people while he was still in the womb and wasn’t born yet which is kinda crazy. He starts murdering people over something super petty as well and just never went back from there. He’s not quite mindless but Asmodai is basically just a brute who goes around destroying everyone he can. There’s not a whole lot to this character and while that can potentially work if you are very charismatic or have cool powers, that’s not the case with him.

So that wraps up the cast. As you can tell I was much more impressed with the heroes than the villains. The Watcher was an interesting character though but I just don’t think he stuck the landing. Ultimately Hyde and Closer is a fun series but not one that you would call great. It doesn’t have enough special aspects that would cause you to really remember it among all of the competitors. The whole curse and puppet angle could have helped make it big since that’s a fairly small sub-genre. The biggest one I can think of like that would be Zatch Bell.

It felt like the series was gearing up for a big arc in the future but ultimately the series ended before that could happen. I think the author did have a lot of plans for this one but the series couldn’t manage to make it that far. Definitely too bad. The series did have a little animal violence during one of the sob stories and the final two villains were trying to be as twisted as possible so it’s possible that extending the length of the series could have hurt it. For example if the author decided to double down on that and keep making things darker. I don’t ultimately think the series would have fallen off of that cliff though so I would have liked a few more volumes.

The series does get to conclude its arc of turning Shunpei into a man though so the author made sure that wasn’t left unfinished. He does have a brief moment near the end of the series where he effectively gives up and reverts back to his old self but fortunately that was temporary. It would have been a shame to have wiped out his character development like that but instead he stays strong. It may be a rather basic message but it’s executed well. Shunpei learns how to stand up for himself and how to create his own sense of justice. That’s always good for a lead to have.

Overall, Hyde and Closer is a solid adventure title. I think that’s the best way to think about it as you will have a good amount of fun reading it and then the whole thing will be over. The art was good and we got solid fight scenes even if it could be hard to read at a glance sometimes. Shunpei showed tremendous improvement as a main character and I believe he would have only continued to improve from there. The monster of the week format was working well enough but it was nice to get a big villain organization near the end and amp up the fights. It all feels like we were still in the first act though and things could have really kept on going for a while yet. Don’t let that stop you from reading it though as the series does have an ending. Maybe one day it’ll get a sequel.

Overall 7/10

Neru: Rise of the Martial Artist Review


It’s time to take a look at the next in the line of Shonen Jump cancelled titles. Neru always looked fun when it started although it was completely overshadowed by Red Hood. I don’t recall seeing almost any discussion for this one while Red Hood was always on the webs. That said, the series is quite solid. I can unfortunately see why it ended up getting slammed but the title had a lot of promise and ultimately could have made it to the next level. That just wasn’t in the cards this time though.

The series starts off by introducing us to our lead Neru. He is a guy who is completely obsessed with martial arts and trains nonstop at all times. As a result he hasn’t made very many friends…in fact Mikio is his only friend. Still, that doesn’t really bother him because he’s never really thought about it before. Neru is just satisfied improving his craft but one day a mysterious girl beats him up and invites Neru to join her martial arts school. He will have to pass some exams though but now he finally has something to work towards. Can Neru actually make it in?

When it comes to the Jump main characters you’ve usually got 3 kinds. The inept ones, moderately talented, and the genius fighters. Neru is certainly in the latter category as he starts out as one of the most powerful characters in the series and ends on that note as well. The series was over before it could really introduce a whole lot of characters who could defeat him so as a result Neru ends up slaughtering most of his opponents with ease. Metaphorically btw, as he doesn’t destroy his opponents like that.

Right away one of the strengths of the series is the action scenes. I like the martial art battles and considering that this is a new series, I thought it looked really well polished. My only issue is that a few of the characters have very similar designs which can make things a bit tricky. The actual artwork is on point though so I definitely have no issues on that front. The series is also fast paced so things happen right away. If it had kept up that pacing throughout the series I think it may still be going but unfortunately things slow down a whole lot near the middle. It’s not as noticeable when reading all the chapters through but it does mean that weekly I’m sure these chapters were rather low ranked.

You can really divide the 18 chapters into a few different parts. Of course you start off with the introductions as Neru loses to the heroine Akebi and then meets his match against her brother Jokuro who is one of the most skilled fighters in the whole school. The fact that Neru is self taught and keeping up with these guys is really impressive. It’s a solid start as we get the hype of preparing for entering the school and also have two intro fights right off the bat. You couldn’t ask for much more than from the intro so I thought this was executed really well.

After that, Neru has to pass the test to get into the school. I think this will always worry people since they say you don’t want to do exams early on in a manga anymore. Fortunately this is very short though plus the exam has a combat element. So Neru gets to do the paperwork in about 1 chapter and then we get the battle chapter where even the advanced ninja class is no match for him. It’s a bit slower but still works out well. Now Neru is part of the school so it definitely changes up what you would expect from the series going forward. I’m not even sure what I would expect, it could go for a happier tone like Prince of Tennis where the characters have friendly battles or we could have some evil schools and combatants who show up to make things complicated.

Once Neru gets into the school we start to meet up with a bunch of the new characters including the character who seemed primed to be the real main heroine. With how quick the series ends though it’s hard to say who should really be considered the heroine. Either way the mini arc here involves a hazing from the upper classmen. Neru and Kaname have to compete to find an arrow and the winner gets to live in the dorm while the other has to camp outside for a while. Naturally Neru isn’t the kind of guy who worries about such things so he’s willing to let Kaname get the win but they have some nice teamwork moments here. It’s not as exciting as the intro but it’s really to develop the characters more.

Then we enter the climax which is that Neru needs to find a match so that he can try and rank up. Unfortunately nobody wants to fight him until the psycho Enkoji shows up. This worries Neru’s roommate Ryuzen who has resigned from fighting due in part to a sob story with Enkoji. Neru has to convince this guy to fight again so they can have the match. This part can drag a bit since you likely don’t care about Ryuzen at all yet and you just want to get to the fight. Once we get to the fight it’s pretty hype though. Then of course we get the inevitable 5 year time skip since the series was cancelled.

So I had a good time with this series. It really ends in a flash but you get to have a good time throughout the series. It has solid action and a good cast of characters. There’s no time for any of the characters to be great or anything but they had a good amount of potential. From the cancelled series I’ve read recently I would definitely put this as one of the more impressive ones. We also don’t really see a lot of series about martial arts so it would have been fun to have seen this one last in the end. It’s also borrowing a lot of elements from the God of High School which of course was a really fun series that really went all out by the end. You have the mysterious grandfather who disappeared one day, the fact that Neru uses a martial arts style that revolves around his legs, etc. I could see this series going down that route although minus the gods and aliens. There was a lot here.

That said, the grandpa plot never ends up going anywhere since the series ended so fast so you don’t need to worry about that. In fact, there are no true villains in the series so far since we’re still in the school phase when it ends. I mean Enkoji’s effectively a villain because of how crazy he is but technically the guy is just another classmate so I wouldn’t count that. It’s why I’m not even positive if this would be the kind of series with big villains and everything or if it would be treated more like a sport series about martial arts. It’s just too early to call there although I assume it would involve true villains and end of the world stakes soon.

Personally I think the series ended up being cancelled because of the lull in action near the end when Neru is trying to set up a match. I don’t think people really cared a whole lot about the setup and why Ryuzen quit. I know I didn’t care a whole lot. Not something I would cancel the series over of course but if all the other titles were beating it up at the time then of course being cancelled would make sense in the end. So to avoid cancellation what I would have done is have the first match start right away. Don’t have people dodging Neru in terms of battle and give him a few solo wins before he has to go into doubles.

After all, I don’t see how everyone could dodge him. The series never actually goes into the rules of this but this is a martial arts school. Everyone is so scared of the new kid that Neru can’t get any challengers? To me that just speaks very poorly of the school itself if the students are that scared. Also, if you need to fight in order to advance then I imagine that there should be mandatory fights. I don’t get if it’s a 3 year type school that you can accelerate and you still have to go through most of the time or if fights just directly skip everything. Perhaps the martial arts part is just a small part of the school. Either way we could use more answers but I understand why the series wouldn’t want to waste time on exposition.

In that case it should have just kept the fights going and that would have worked really well. I think that’s the best bet the author could have done to have kept this going. It might not be fun for the author to have to move fast and keep the action going at first but you really gotta do it that way instead of going more for the plot and character elements. At the very least I’d say it’s safer to be really action packed at the start and work from there. Now lets talk about the characters.

As mentioned, Neru’s a fun main character. He’s very invested in his goal of being a martial artist in part so he can find his grandfather. It’s a noble goal and he’s a nice guy who stands up for the weak. He’s a very solid fighter and I’m glad that he doesn’t fall for tricks very easily. He was able to adapt to each of the ninja’s moves very easily and that really helped him stand out here. I wouldn’t say there’s anything unique about him just yet but all of his character traits are good so I definitely have no complaints.

Then you have Akebi who shows up in the opening chapters but vanishes until the end otherwise. She would have been a fun character though. She would have served in the mentor role for a while although it seemed like Neru was close to surpassing her early on so this may not have been a role she’d have stayed in for long. She doesn’t enter tournaments like the other characters so I’m assuming we would get some kind of backstory behind that eventually. She’s definitely a fun character and would have been a good member of the main cast.

Jokuro is the next guy up and we don’t get to see a lot of him but he does get the opening fight which will have to do. I like his confidence and he seems like another fun character here. He also seems to have a bit of a friendly rivalry with his sister Akebi which would have been a fun dynamic. Having Jokuro be one of the strongest fighters was a good idea because he’s a likable character so that would make for a positive obstacle in Neru’s path.

Shoze seems like he was being built up as the rival in the series. He’s a first year student like Neru who was in the exams but the tricky thing is that Neru seems to have already been stronger than him from the start. So maybe saying they would be rivals is a stretch but everyone else is impressed with the guy in the series so it still seems that way. I guess it would depend on if Neru would be a rival to the masters like Jokuro or if he would be a rival to Shoze. It all depends on how fast Neru ended up improving so I suppose that could go either way. I’m not a big fan of Shoze though, the kind of guy who will look the other way when someone is getting beaten up so he can succeed. It’s perhaps not unexpected for this guy but it’s not something that will help me like him.

I should give Mikio a quick mention but he’s Neru’s friend from the old school so I suspect that he would not end up doing much at all in the coming chapters. Nice enough guy even if he is too quick to spill all of his secrets about Neru to Akebi though. I see where his priorities are now and Neru can’t really trust him. Toriichi seems to be the replacement as he’s also a super nice guy who’s rather meek and mild mannered. I don’t see this going over well for him at a martial arts school though so I question why he is even here. Maybe his family forced him to come? That would at least make some sense I suppose.

Next up is Kaname, one of the heroines in the series. So she is the sister of one of the “Big 3” fighters in the school. Her family are all made up of fighters but they say that she shouldn’t be fighting along with them because she’s a girl. It’s definitely a very classic kind of character arc and she needs to learn to fight really well to show them that she is ready for the battle field. Her personality is very tsundere type with Neru. She can’t fight super well yet from what we can see but with her determination I’m sure she would go far. I liked her character even if we didn’t get to see her a whole lot yet. Even if I probably wouldn’t be on board with the romance, I could see her having a solid dynamic with lots of good banter in there.

Finally we get to the fighters from the last battle. There’s Ryuzen who doesn’t like fighting anymore and the reason feels unique but doesn’t help him a lot. Basically if Ryuzen takes any damage he has a hard time withholding his urge to kill and so he’s decided that it would just be safer if he didn’t fight at all. If he can’t control himself of course that is correct but he might as well not attend the martial arts school in that case. His decision to stay tells me that it is possible to graduate without fighting though which is definitely interesting. I didn’t end up liking Ryuzen even by the end though. The guy’s rather mean to Neru for no good reason and he takes forever to do anything. He was even letting the villains double team Neru while he was busy getting ready.

Enkoji is the only villain as mentioned before and I wonder how he was not expelled. He basically confirms that he intentionally injures his opponents to scar them so he can match their scars with self inflicting wounds. He really injured Ryuzen’s partner quite badly and is happy about it. He has no problem saying all of this in front of everyone by the way. Does the school just tolerate anything? It appears that way of course. Enkoji’s whole character is that he’s insane and likes dishing out pain so I can’t say that there is anything interesting about him. You’re waiting for the heroes to beat him up and that’s about it.

So for the most part we’ve got a good cast here. I imagine we would start to meet a lot more and of course there are other students that I did not mention. They would likely get more of a role going forward as well with all the fights coming up. The series may not have made it as long as the author would have hoped but it does succeed in telling a complete story. The series did a good job of having everything wrap up cleanly. The grandpa plot is ignored but we get to see how Neru’s path ended and see that the world is just not too out there this time. Based on the timeskip the world around the heroes is really quite normal and everyone’s just having a good time. No end of the world plots or anything but I wouldn’t say this definitively means that the series was going down that route since the series was ending here anyway.

Overall, Neru: Rise of the Martial Artist is just a fun series. You’ll have a good time reading through it because the characters are pleasant and the story is good. It had a lot of potential. I don’t think it was ever going to be one of the all stars but it definitely would have been another solid installment to the Jump lineup. Hopefully the author is successful in their next endeavor and I would like to get another martial artist series at some point in the future. There’s really a lot you can do with that. If you’re looking for a series to sit down with and spend an hour or two, this is certainly a good option.

Overall 7/10

London Has Fallen Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

It’s been close to 7 years since I originally saw Olympus Has Fallen. It’s fun to look back to my old review of it. I ended up seeing the film again to get ready for this one and would score it higher nowadays. I’d probably bump it back up to around a 7. I still do have an issue with how easy the whole takeover was. No way that plane should have been able to take out the two jets like that and I feel like everyone wouldn’t go down so quick…but that’s how it goes. This film isn’t quite as strong as the first and I do have to suspend my disbelief again but it’s still a solid sequel.

Following up on the events from the first film, Mike is back on the security detail protecting the president. They have been invited to attend a funeral for the prime minister along with the presidents and leaders of many different countries. I have massive doubts that everyone would actually attend in person due to the great security risks this would bring but the President does want to go in person. A virtual meeting would have been best but it looks like America is going. Mike and the President head in with the team but of course it’s a trap and nearly all of the leaders are assassinated while London is burning. Mike has to help the President get back to safe ground but comms are down and enemies are everywhere. Will Mike be able to pull off one more rescue?

The film is definitely escalating the situation a lot more than the first film. We’ve got traitors everywhere, the villains have a plan so big that they outsmarted the G8 and tons of cops were planted on the inside. The film points out that this is a plan that was years in the making but even then I have doubts on this all going through. It seems like the USA was the only place to even think of bringing in any guards. Everyone else just folded immediately when the enemies attacked. No extraction plans or anything, they all just curled up and died. Even at the end of the film they nonchalantly mentioned that a new government has been installed and everything’s all good….but it’s not a focus.

You may as well have had this take place in the U.S. again because it feels like the other countries just did not matter at all. They don’t ultimately do anything and feel incidental. The villains don’t even seem to care about the other governments at all anyway. I could go on about that angle but it would go in circles pretty quickly. Bottom line is I don’t think this plan would really work nearly as well as the film is trying to spin it. I always have a lot of skepticism on these outside attacks at least on this scale.

Mike continues to be a great lead here. He takes charge right away and gets the President to safety. Each time he manages to take on several opponents at once and is quick under pressure. He has a lot of good lines here and is just really talented. He doesn’t let the team pull him off the field and lives up to his reputation as a one man army. Soon the villains are going to need to start factoring him into the equation if they really want to win these battles. Otherwise it’s really curtains for them.

The President is also fun. I still wish they would let him fight at least once since we did get the whole boxing scene in the first film. He shoots someone here but I’m talking a true hand to hand fight. He always ends up taking a beating instead but the guy always stands strong so I’ll give him credit there. He’s not going to give up or crack in the end.

Trumbull is also a very solid character. He really did an excellent job of filling in during the events of the first film. His role isn’t quite as big in the second film but he gets a really good scene at the end where he turns the tables on the main villain. I also liked how he turned the guy’s line against himself. The ending is also a bit ironic for him since the villain was rambling about how the U.S. blows people out of the sky all the time and this and that. Well, now he had the honor of being blown out from the sky himself.

The villains aren’t quite as memorable as in the first film though. You’ve got the classic “I want revenge for my fellow terrorists” kind of guy who doesn’t realize that he should be blaming them for being terrorists in the first place. The U.S. does look a bit iffy with one explosion where it turns out that we blew up a bunch of civilians as collateral damage as a result. Sounds like it was a rough choice but since we didn’t even get the villain that did make us look bad. We ultimately got him on the second shot though. Certainly there was not going to be any other decision after the President was taken hostage and nearly murdered though.

The action scenes are on point as you would expect. Definitely a lot of very intense battles there and nobody is taking prisoners here. We get some solid hand to hand fighting and Mike surprisingly has a bit of a tough battle at the end. Of course he has to be utterly exhausted by this point so that makes sense. He does spend a little too long gloating at the end which nearly leads to one villain getting away but I suppose after beating so many enemies he has earned a little speech to himself.

Overall, London Has Fallen is a good sequel to the first film. It doesn’t surpass the original as it’s weaker in almost every way but it’s still a good movie in its own right. The characters are on point and you’ll be engaged with what’s going on in the story. The villains aren’t as memorable and I would say the film isn’t quite as tense as the first though. It’ll be interesting to see what the third film’s all about. I’d assume the only way to get even bigger is to have the whole world engaged in some kind of World War III as Mike has to protect the president from every country. That might start entering the point of parody if they were to do that though so we’ll see how that works out. Either way, this is a film I could recommend checking out without a doubt.

Overall 6/10

The Flash Volume 3 Gorilla Warfare Review


It’s certainly been quite a while since I’ve checked out a Flash comic, that’s for sure. Or any comic for that matter. Volume 2 ended with Gorilla Grodd and the troops heading to Earth just when the Rogues Gallery had been having a big fight with the Flash. Now they have to break that up in order to fight off the invasion but it may already be too late for Central City. That was a good cliffhanger to end things off with so Volume 3 is really able to start quickly. The arc really takes up almost all of the volume but you would expect no less for Grodd.

So as mentioned, Gorilla Grodd’s army is here and the Flash has a very tenuous partnership with the Rogues for now. By that I mean that the Flash definitely has to watch his back at all times or it could be game over for him. This won’t be as easy as normal though because Gorilla Grodd has obtained super speed of his own. Meanwhile Iris and friends are still stuck inside the speed force and trying to get out but they have to make sure not to mess with the timestream too much. That never tends to end well.

The arc takes up the first 5 issues out of 7 in the volume so quite a lot happens. I always had a hard time taking Grodd seriously as a Flash villain because super speed means this guy should not be able to do anything. Giving him the Speed Force as well helps to change that because now Flash is the one in a tough spot. I won’t say unwinnable, but it would be difficult to cause an upset if they both have the same level of speed only Grodd is massively stronger. You could argue that the Flash’s experience would allow him to win but I’d argue that the experience isn’t enough to even give him the advantage let alone make this an easy win.

It’s honestly a very impressive showing for Gorilla Grodd to the point where the Flash pulls a Dr. Strange and thinks through hundreds if not thousands of scenarios and can’t find any way where he can directly defeat Gorilla Grodd. Ultimately he has to think outside of the box on this one. The plan is certainly an interesting one. Depending on how his plan went I may have been shaking my head but ultimately it was well thought out. It may not guarantee his victory but it does stack as many possible advantages as possible in order to at least make this close.

The volume really shows off Barry’s intelligence which is always good. He is a genius in his own right even if he’s not as smart as Batman or Superman. Barry knows how to come up with a plan and is quite self sufficient. The guy’s been the hero of Central City for a while after all and the volume treats him with a lot of respect. Part of why the Justice League is so fun is because you can make an argument for several members ultimately being the deadliest person in the group. Flash is no exception with how he can bend time to his will and move so quickly. Usually this means you may have some power level hax but the comic solved that issue by giving Grodd his speed. Ultimately the arc was a lot of fun.

There are two main subplots here, one of which is solid and the other which is underwhelming. The good one is with the Rogues fighting off the Gorillas. It’s always fun to have a villains vs villains kind of confrontation and this one lives up to that. The rogues are just lucky that the rest of the Gorillas don’t have super speed. Captain Cold is still bickering about trying to be the leader a lot but the group does ultimately team up to stop the threat. I look forward to seeing them step in as villains again in a future arc.

The plot I was not really feeling was with Turbine, Iris, and the gang. So they were hopping around a lot and ultimately show up in the speed force to help but it was a little hard to care. They didn’t help a whole lot and while I know Turbine needs to get home, you would just be waiting to get back to the Barry plot. It seems like Turbo’s plot will end up being important in a future arc so maybe next volume will be his time to shine. In the meantime though it just wasn’t very big yet. Also, Iris is just so unlikable in the New 52 so far so she tends to be annoying in most of the scenes.

We get a flashback where she went on a date with Barry just to try and use him to get her brother out of prison. Manipulating someone with a fake date’s definitely not good. In the present they’ve patched things up well enough but Barry is currently dating Patty and you can’t help but feel that Patty is ultimately doomed. It’s too bad because Patty seems like a good character throughout. She’s been very understanding of his Flash persona and has just been nothing but supportive throughout the series. I’d like to see Iris and Barry just have a very constructive friendship but we’ll see how that goes.

The final two issues deal with the Trickster being charged with murder. He denies the charges and Barry believes him because he knows the Trickster wouldn’t murder someone. Personally….I’d be a little dubious since the guy is a villain even if he usually seems harmless. Also, some of the guys who went into the Speed Force have started developing super speed. Interestingly, only Iris has not awakened her abilities yet which concerns Flash but he doesn’t have time to tackle every issue at once. He needs to convince these guys to stop using their powers so freely and he needs to find evidence to help out the Trickster. One last problem though…his speed has mysteriously vanished. Can he still prove that the Trickster is innocent?

Albert and Gomez are the two guys who awakened the super speed abilities and they are rather annoying. They get themselves into trouble almost immediately and are extremely aggressive right from the jump. Sure, they’re right that they can’t just get rid of their powers and may as well use them but you’d think they would take babysteps first. Maybe train in abandoned areas, get used to the speed, etc. There are so many ways to prepare yourself with super speed since it’s such an amazing power. Jumping right into big fights is not the way to go. I think what rubs me the wrong way is how upset they are and it really feels like they will turn evil in short order. They’re also quite rude to the Flash for no reason. If they keep their powers I definitely expect things to get dicey.

The Flash losing his powers feels pretty random for now. At the end of the volume we find out that this may tie into a Batman case involving a power syphoning device. Cyborg is looking into it and this is a nice nod to the rest of the League being around. It’s the perfect way to include their presence while still having the Flash doing his own thing. Without this happening the mini arc would be extremely easy so I see why the plot device was included.

After all, the stakes here is that a group of rebels are planning to break the Trickster out and that could cause some political strife as the group is a part of an independent nation. It’s certainly impressive that they started this up since these guys don’t seem all that ready for politics. Still, apparently this could cause huge issues so the Flash has to be careful on how he handles this. We get to see how he would fight with gadgets and such to also try and avoid hurting anyone. It’s a fun adventure which may be a lot more low key than the Grodd fights but works well enough.

Finally, the cliffhanger is about the Reverse Flash showing up. I have no idea which version or iteration this one is but he seems to be taking the title literally as he may have just saved someone he murdered only to destroy the guy again? The whole setup is about doing things in reverse which is fun. I want to see more of this gimmick going forward. He’s already talking big and I expect he’ll try to bring some pseudo moral argument over to Barry which the lead should just disregard. Reverse Flash is historically one of his most dangerous foes though so this should be a tough fight.

As expected, the artwork is really solid here. The New 52 era always looked super impressive visually and this comic is no exception. The fight scenes are on point and it makes the comic very easy to read. You never have to pause and wonder what’s going on or anything like that. The whole story just flows together real easy. The writing is good too with all the characters remaining in character and acting sensible. Even Iris who I wasn’t a big fan of is still written well. I just didn’t like the decisions she would end up making.

Overall, The Flash continues to be a strong run for the character. Each arc is interesting and brings a good amount of action and adventure. With the Reverse Flash coming in, I wouldn’t be surprised if the next arc is the best one yet. The beginning to a long comic run is always super important and I’d say the writer’s been nailing it here. Each story keeps introducing new elements for the future so there’s always quite a few plot threads to juggle. The toughest thing will be keeping the Flash from instantly winning without constantly reverting to taking his powers away or just making the enemies also gain super speed. Of course if you have to choose an option to reuse, I would always go with the latter because high speed battles never get old. Also, it just makes sense for his gallery to have super speed as it’s logically the best way to put up a fight against him.

Overall 7/10

My Hero Academia Season 5 Review


It’s always impressive how the MHA seasons keep arriving like clockwork. You can usually expect a season every year and the next one will certainly be coming soon as well. The seasons have all been rather consistent as well with really solid animation throughout. This is probably the first one where it felt like the production started to catch up with them in the end but ultimately you’ve got another great season here. There’s a lot going on so lets hop right to it.

The show quickly opens up with the aftermath of last season as Dabi shows up to taunt Endeavor a little bit. As one of the enemy top commanders it would be great if the heroes could take him out but he’s too crafty and slips away. We then go to the heroes who need to get stronger and have a tournament between classes to pull this off. Class 1A will have to try and take out Class 1B once and for all. Can they really pull this off though or are they already doomed? Class 1B has far less real world experience than 1A but of course their quirks are still the real deal.

This lasts for the first half of the season and it’s a fun arc. The animation really helps to increase how intense the battles are but either way I’m always up for a good tournament. We get to see everyone contribute this way and you know that Bakugo is going to be set. Honestly I think Class 1B should have won the third round based on how things played out but I’ll go into each individual match in a second. All of them were fun though and I liked how 1B’s teacher was openly rooting for them. He may not be impartial but he’s certainly loyal. I’d like 1A’s teacher to have been a little more supportive like that.

After the tournament ends we get the mini arc of Todoroki, Bakugo, and Deku working under Endeavor. We get to see more of his family drama and the heroes learn how to make the most of their quirks. In the background Hawks is working on a mission of his own and it’s hard to tell if he’s a double agent that the heroes can trust or if he’s gone off the deep end. Either way he’s their best hope for secret intel but of course he has to be careful how he transmits the data. This arc’s definitely more on the low key side but it’s another way to build up experience for the main characters and to get them strong enough for the battles that are to come. There’s not a whole lot to say about these episodes but of course it’s still going to be a long journey to even begin to forgive Endeavor. I don’t blame Todoroki’s brother for still being super sore about the whole thing. I can’t say Endeavor ever bounced back for me personally.

Then we get to the arc that most people were really excited for in this season. The big My Villain Alliance arc where Shigaraki and the gang are forced to fight against a new villain group led by Re-Destro. It’s always fun to see a villains vs villains arc and so of course that would be the case here too. The new villain group has the absolute massive advantage in numbers since it’s really hundreds against less than 10 fighters. The league of villains are also heavily weakened since they’ve been fighting almost nonstop for days already. With their abilities weakened can they claim victory here?

Imagine if Re-Destro hadn’t been so determined to beat the villains on his own and had called in the heroes? He could have ended up ending the series early but fortunately his hubris made him want to fight personally. I don’t think he realized that this would be the best path for him as well but figured he couldn’t lose either way. Now there was a lot of controversy about how the arc would be adapted though. The events got shuffled around a bit to try and build up synergy with the movie. As a result, the anime put the training arc with Endeavor before the villain arc. Not a really bad thing on its own, both events are far enough away where they shouldn’t reference each other.

The big problem here is that the anime still includes future scenes…including spoiling the ending of the arc with the result of who won the war and what happened to both team members. Everything is absolutely spoiled with a classic villain meeting scene where we see everyone. We hear about the destruction on the news in the episode and I don’t understand this choice by the writer/director. Surely it would have been incredibly easy to move that scene to the end right? Also, due to so many episodes being for the other events, the my villain arc had to be rushed quite a lot. Many scenes are cut and so the arc doesn’t feel quite as complete as in the manga. It only gets 6 episodes to itself (Although 5 since the last episode is really after the arc) so there just wasnm’t a lot of time. It’s still a very solid arc but it is heavily weakened to the point where it’s fair to say that the Class 1A vs Class 1B arc is stronger. At least in the anime I would say it absolutely is. The first arc has better animation, more big battles, etc.

So that part was unfortunate but even if you know how the arc will end, it’s still a fun journey here. You get to see the villains gaining more power and how this will make things tougher for the heroes going forward. They can’t hope to just roll on past the villains now, although that was never really an option. The heroes are gaining power at a much slower rate than the villains so now the villains may have even taken the lead. To be honest, I would say the villain group is more powerful than the heroes right now. Their abilities are simply too good to be stopped.

So lets go back to the battles for a minute here. Class 1B messed up in the first battle because they really had the edge once Kirishima was taken out of play. On paper 1A is much stronger there but 1B had such a promising start. Unfortunately for them they got a bit overconfident. It was a fun way to start the tournament off. Ultimately most if not all of the other battles would surpass this one but we got to see what Shinso could do in the fights.

In the second battle we had another match that appears to be a stomp for 1A on paper but 1B came out with the better plan once again. This time they were able to close the deal and I was glad to see that. Momo and Kendo have a big rivalry here and it was nice to see. Momo seems to usually come out on top so at least Kendo has a win here. Her plan was well thought out and they took advantage of how emotional the heroes could get. I liked how their shadow guy baited Tokoyami at one point. Ultimately this is a main theme for the tournament with how 1B would make up for their lack of physical abilities with really smart planning.

Then we go to the third battle which is the most lopsided because of how stacked it is for the heroes. I’m not a big Ida fan but I can still say that he is quite fast and a threat in a fight. Then you have Todoroki on the same team? Well, that’s a wrap. This fight may have had the best animation out of the 5. We got some great scenes of Ida dashing around at limitless speed and Todoroki’s fire was really sharp. That said, the tie was not satisfying here. While I think 1A should have won from the start, at the end they should have just lost if this is how it was going to go. With the bar hitting Todoroki like that Rocketti needed to come in clutch for 1B.

After that it was time for Bakugo to take the stage. It’s the most one sided battle out of the 5 and for good reason. Up until now 1B has had all of the planning but Bakugo had enough of that. He conducts a really solid plan for 1A and they have a perfect win. It was a good way to show how Bakugo has been improving over the course of the show and now knows how to be a team player. It isn’t something he likes doing but it makes sense that he would know how to work with others since that will be necessary when he is a pro.

Finally we get to the 5th match with Deku. Of course Deku could solo the entirety of Class 1B on his own so we have to have something to prevent this. In this case it was that Deku develops his new ability during the fight and loses control which gives 1B a chance to come back. I really like Monoma so I was glad that he got to have a good role here. Certainly the standout of 1B. The match is never in doubt but it’s suitably dramatic and works as a good way to end the arc off.

So the arc was definitely a lot of fun. Constant fights and everyone got to show off their stuff so I was satisfied here. I would like to see 1B get to do something more in an action context at some point though. I know that they’re probably outmatched against the League of Villains but surely there’s some fodder they can fight against. It would be good to show that they are still contributing and can fight when the chips are down.

In terms of people choking when they’re about to win though, that happens to Re-Destro’s side a lot in the villain arc. At the very least you feel like Shigaraki and Toga should have lost their battles. Toga was getting utterly devastated throughout the match to the point where she was exploded several times when her opponent rigged the blood flow. Toga should not be getting up from that, much less turning the tables. I know the reporter got overconfident but that was the match to me. Meanwhile Re-Destroy also had such a huge lead but then he started admiring Shigaraki and losing his resolve. It was a shame because that guy was so cool but now he has faltered. I guess that’s why he is no longer the mastermind though. He doesn’t have the grit for this.

Now lets talk about the characters. Of course the main cast has already been appearing for a while so I won’t go super in depth there. Deku still makes for a solid lead. As far as Shonen Jump leads go he has always been one of the weaker ones for me but just going off of this season he doesn’t really do anything wrong. He does well in the fights and you can excuse him sandbagging a bit because if he goes all out he could murder someone by mistake. As the seasons go we should see him displaying more and more power in a safe way.

Bakugo gets a really great role of course with how he commanded his team to victory. It was nice to see and he’s never lacking in confidence. Jiro had a great assist in the match and she is quick to act on the orders. I see them having a good dynamic on the field going forward. Uravity doesn’t get to fight a lot here but she does come in handy for helping Deku come to his senses. Ida has his speed moment and while he ultimately has a rough matchup here, he does help his team a lot.

Likewise, Todoroki has a good moment with his fire and ice abilities but ultimately it’s really hard to use those abilities at their peak without murdering someone so that nerfs him in the tournament. The rest of class 1A is mainly uneventful but of course they are all in this tournament so you’ll see all of your favorite characters doing their own thing and upgrading their powers. We still don’t get to see much of Invisigirl so she is truly living up to her name.

For Class 1B the standout characters start with Monoma of course. His ability to store powers and use them at will makes him a true threat. He even has his delayed effect on one of them which is used strategically. You can see how his ability has its own share of weaknesses since he always has to use borrowed abilities which means that he has less experience than his opponent but his high IQ helps to balance that out. He is not someone that you want to go up against in the field.

Kinoko is an interesting case because she’s like Deku where she has to be careful of how she fights. She can cause mushrooms to appear all over your body which impairs your ability to move and breath. She is also shown to be able to do this across an incredible range as she covered a good chunk of the battlefield. What this means is she could conceivably cause this to appear in your lungs and you’d be dead instantly. Her abilities have countless ways to be used but many are lethal and even with knocking out opponents she has to be careful not to suffocate them. I doubt she’ll ever get to do much again but honestly she would be a huge help against the villains.

As mentioned earlier, I was glad that Kendo got her moment to shine. Even if she doesn’t get to fight later on. That’s at least something she can hang her hat on and she really is a solid strategist. Mudman deserves some credit too for being able to react to Ida’s speed and still land his counter blows. He did quite well in using his ability creatively. Certainly not someone that you want to underestimate.

Shihai also gets kudos for the mind games he was playing the whole time. It was quite effective and he’s a good actor. Then you have Spiral who isn’t super remarkable but his abilities are so basic that it makes him feem like a very earnest guy. Ultimately I think he could have done better here but I won’t forget his abilities too soon. The way he punches while spinning reminds me of Jin from Yu Yu Hakusho.

Shinso gets a good role here as he gets to participate in both team sessions. His ability to mind control you is super handy. Even if it won’t work too well on Deku or Shigaraki, most opponents are immediately going to lose if he can hit them. The trick to his ability is that he needs the villain to talk back to him. Assuming that most don’t yet know about his ability, that makes him a real asset on the field. He also wants to learn mor close quarters combat which is a good idea since that never hurts.

Then we have Endeavor who is of course trying to turn over a new leaf. Props for effort of course. I may not like the guy but it is still important to start trying to make amends as it’s better than just continuing down the dark path. As the number 1 hero he has huge shoes to fill but is doing his best. I would still consider him to be the second strongest hero in the series (That we have seen so far) but I would argue Deku has surpassed him. Endeavor is just able to control his abilities better and then go all out.

Meanwhile Hawks still has the toughest job here as he has to hang out with the villains and learn things. He could be murdered at any moment so he really has to be careful. He does well in his role though and knows how to use his laidback attitude to his advantage. Now that takes us to the villains and of course quite a lot happens with those guys. I’ll start with Spinner since he gets the least to do. Most of his scenes are the ones that had to be axed although to be fair, if I had to axe any scenes I would have gone after Spinner too. He’s just not super interesting compared to the others and he’s a bit weak as well. Right now the guy doesn’t have nearly as much drive as the others.

So first off we have Twice who gets a lot of big moments here. For starters he is able to awaken his quirk so he can now copy anybody he really knows including their powers. That’s a huge power up especially considering that he can now make hundreds of clones. It was nice to see him be able to recover from his split personality issues as well. His backstory is definitely something I’m sure everyone imagined at least once in Naruto as a dark what if route. Well, he’s back and stronger than ever now. He may be a villain but Twice is the kind of guy who really cares about his comrades and so you end up liking him well enough. He’s easily one of the more likable members.

Then you have Toga who is still as crazy as ever. We get her backstory which doesn’t make her any more sympathetic but it isn’t really supposed to. We just learn now that she really was crazy from the start. I’m not a Toga fan and this certainly wouldn’t change my mind in that respect. I have to say that I was rooting for Curious from the start and I still say that she deserved that win.

Next up is Dabi who is great as always. It was a hype moment when the team called him in to help in the fight. Makes sense because without him things would be difficult. His fire attacks are great for fighting many enemies at once after all and one hit could be deadly. Surprisingly he seemed to still be on the losing side against Geten and is lucky that backup arrived. It was a rough matchup for him though.

Finally you have Shigaraki. Oh there’s a guy called Compress? Well he didn’t do anything so he may as well not exist. Anyway back to Shigaraki, I’m not really a big fan of his. I mean he’s your classic crazy villain who wants to see the world burn and all. The insane types can be good sometimes, sometimes not. I’ve always found that specific kind of villain to be very hit or miss. He’s slowly starting to get past his issues like always needing the hands which is good and he’s gaining focus. Down the road Shigaraki could end up being a stronger villain personality wise.

His origin story is also the weakest part of the show as of course he has a dog and you can imagine how that goes. He grew up in a toxic household which ultimately ended up speeding his descent into madness. It’s too bad since things could have been different for him otherwise but the heroes were just not around in time. Not like they can be in every household though. Shigaraki’s father just looks terrible here. You can’t really blame the sister since she’s just a child but he deserves a lot of the blame here.

Of course you aren’t likely to sympathize with Shigaraki much here. Even if his childhood was rough, he ultimately ended up becoming a mass murdering villain so that was that. With his new powers he seems nearly unstoppable though so the heroes are really going to have to put out all the stops here.

As for the other villain group we have to start off with Re-Destro. This guy was great at the start, he has a ton of confidence and has his own empire. He blackmails the league of villains openly and it shows you just how many connections he has. He was making a case for being one of the best villains in the series but unfortunately he completely cracks once he is humbled by Shigaraki. He goes to being someone that is absolutely loving being a minion but way too much. He has no more self dignity anymore and I lost all respect for him so fast. He’s just a shell of himself now.

Gigantomachia is sort of a third party villain until he accepts Shigaraki but now we can say he is in the league. He’s super powerful to be sure but one of those really big and not very fast guys so I can’t take him ultra seriously. He’s really good for obliterating tons of fodder quickly though and since it’s hard to damage him, he’ll end up being one of the big players in the upcoming battles.

Back to Re-Destro’s allies, we have Curious next. She’s effectively a twisted reporter who always has to get the scoop even during battle. She’s quite good at her job and made for a fun villain. Curious may be short lived at the end of the day but she certainly made the most of her screen time. Then there’s Geten who also doesn’t appear much but this guy stole the show for me. His fight with Dabi is great and I love the guy’s confidence. Usually you’d assume that ice won’t do anything against fire but Geten showed why his abilities surpass all of that. The fact that he can use water to create a near infinite supply makes me think that he may be more powerful than both Todoroki and Dabi at using his abilities. I dare say Geten was going to easily win if not for the fight being interrupted.

Finally we have Skeptic but he’s more of a support villain than someone who will go in personally. He uses his pseudo hypnosis to get everyone on board and fired up. His abilities also seem to give his fighters a little extra strength so he’s useful to have around. Not really my kind of villain though and he doesn’t leave the same kind of impact as Curious and Geten. Both of those villains you won’t be forgetting any time soon.

For the soundtrack we’ve got a lot of the really solid tunes that are from the older seasons which are always good. There are also some new tracks particularly in the villain arc which are solid. I’m not sure what the name of the theme is, but it plays quite a bit during the villain fights and is a good way to build things up. I like the idea of the villains having their own ost to counter the heroes as well. Ultimately the only aspect that still remains on the disappointing side is the openings. For some reason MHA has really started to have really below average openings. It reminds me of One Piece where the openings just never tend to be all that great. At least MHA had the first opening which was exceptional though, there’s never been a standout tune for One Piece. Maybe it’s a tough thing for long running titles in general as I can’t think of any really top notch Naruto openings. Black Clover would be the exception although Bleach had some solid ones in the mix.

I will give the show credit having 2 intro songs though which is how it should be. When you have 25-26 episodes you should have 2 openings, 4 for 52, and 1 for 13. Every 13 episodes you should have a new opening. Them’s the rules. As for the animation, well it’s pretty great as always. Particularly the first arc with the heroes against heroes. We get a lot of great animation cuts there and top tier moments throughout. The famous cubes for the big moments and the heroes look plus ultra as a result. You could say some of the best animated cuts in the whole series are in the first half.

As mentioned earlier, it does come at a bit of a cost though. The villains arc noticeably seemed to get the worst animation of the series. In the other seasons every episode always looked consistent so even if some fights got more attention than others, it was always at the same level. Here it just looks really different at times, almost outsourced. Even the color palette looks different as it gets a lot brighter and less detailed at times. It may not be on point compared to the rest of the show but I would say it still looks good if you take it as a stand alone. Additionally they still pull out the budget for the final fight of the season which is good. I would say even that one doesn’t look as good as most of the cuts in the first half of the season but it still ends on a solid note.

Also, a part of me is just wondering if maybe the show was just trying something different with the animation. Like if you see the Dabi screenshot above or watch some episodes, it just looks different. It’s why I mentioned potential outsourcing. Perhaps it was a different style they wanted to experiment with and it just didn’t work out as well. I remember Black Clover tried some experimental animation in one of its fights when things were going through a big time crunch and if the style is quicker to animate then it would make sense to use it.

The arc definitely had a lot of really solid animated moments as well even if I don’t think the style was nearly as good as the first half. The less detailed approach may help to mask if this was rushed which could be the intent. I love bright colors like this so the art style worked even if it was less detailed. To put it one way, I wouldn’t mind if it ultimately went in this direction next season even if I would prefer traditional. After all, I really enjoyed the Dabi fight and I thought the scene I attached a screenshot of looked great. It’s certainly eye catching and pops out at you.

Overall, My Hero wraps up another important saga in the mix. It may have been a little less high stakes compared to the last few seasons but we do have a solid cliffhanger to set things up for the next season. Season 6 is really going to be intense from start to finish with nonstop battles so if they need to take a few extra months to set this up that’s fine. It has the potential to be the best season in the show depending on how this all goes. Also, how many shows get to have 5+ seasons like this? Definitely shows how big the series has gotten and I’m expecting more movies coming up as well.

Overall 8/10

Saint Seiya: Heaven Chapter – Overture Review


After all these years it’s time to check out the original sequel to the Saint Seiya manga/anime. After the big battle with Hades, Seiya was greatly injured and this movie explores just how bad those injuries were since the manga just ended immediately so we didn’t know exactly how this played out. I am glad that he gets up sooner than later though as writing Seiya out for the movie would not have been a great move. The film’s definitely a lot of fun, I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s the best Seiya movie but it’s cool to see another original adventure and the ending’s definitely hype.

The movie starts with showing Seiya in a wheelchair and he is completely despondent. He has lost his ability to use his abilities and can’t even walk. One day, a group of fighters show up to assassinate him. These are angels led by Artemis. The gods have decided that Seiya and the other saints must be punished for taking out 3 gods during the Hades arc. Athena doesn’t like this but as always she chickens out and goes along with the villains. After meekly handing over her throne and saints, Athena is gone and Seiya is fortunately able to get up. He has to find Athena and take down Artemis and her troops. Can he pull this off now that he is truly back to being a bronze saint? (Even weaker than one to be honest) Also, where are his fellow Saints when he needs them?

If you can’t tell, I was not a fan of Athena at all here. Once again she is betraying Seiya….why? By now you’ve got to trust him since he has saved the day so many times. This is one main thing I would hold against the film which is that everyone’s betraying Seiya again. Aside from Athena you also have the other bronze and silver saints beating him up. Seiya really can’t catch a break and as always he’s got to do everything by himself. It would be nice if everyone could have his back for a change.

Athena in particular has to get the more criticism though. She saw what the Saints did against Hades previously. She should have confidence that they can beat Artemis and whatever army of gods are behind her. Just summon the Saints and announce a full war against them. Otherwise you lose any kind of turf advantage and Athena handing over her staff was not a good move. She’s just lucky that Artemis allowed her to take it back later on.

The other Bronze Saints like Unicorn do look bad here though. Come on now, you’re that eager to start working for Artemis now? A true Saint never stops their allegiance so calling this Artemis’ temple now and things like that make them look bad. I also thought Marin and Shaina looked really bad for going along with this. Enough about those Saints though, Seiya himself looks great which is good. He’s determined as always. Seiya knows how to take a beating, every enemy has the advantage at first and that’s true here as well. Initially he takes a lot of hits but that’s because he’s so weakened.

I can see why this nerf was necessary because otherwise Seiya was stronger than the gods by the end of the series. It should be easy for him to utterly dismantle all of the Angels and take down Artemis. The only opponent worthy of him would be Apollo and even then my money would be on Seiya. Because of this though I have no power level issues with Seiya’s fights. It all makes sense given what we know about his situation.

I do have some power level issues with the rest of the Saints though. Ikki, Hyoga, Shiryu, and Andromeda should all be close to Seiya’s level. Not quite as strong of course but strong enough to be taking these guys down for the count. Instead Hyoga and Shiryu are initially knocked out off screen and then Ikki and Andromeda are having a tough time winning a 2 v 1 against one of the opponents. They don’t have their gold armor at the ready this time (although I’d make the case that they should be able to awaken it with their burning spirit) but they should still be winning these fights. Only Apollo should be able to take them out at this point.

Still, it is nice to see these guys. Their role is very small but at least they all have an action scene which is good. Based on how the film starts to end, I do think they would have done a lot more in the sequel though. It’s a shame that this couldn’t have continued though. Even if we have a different timeline, just have some branching paths. It may not be canon or something but it’d still be nice to see. Or go the Fate route where you have 3 initial paths and then like 5-8 branching futures. The more expansive the franchise the better after all.

The animation here is really solid and I would agree with anyone who says that this is the best that the series has looked. The animation is really solid and this feels like a true theater experience. The colors are sharp and the backgrounds have a whole lot of detail to them. The fight scenes are also on point as well and it’s always fun to see Seiya’s classic Meteor Fist with the accompanying sound effect. The soundtrack is also good here. We get a nice song at the end and the classic fighting tunes are always good. The movie definitely delivers here.

On the other hand, the film’s only real weakness comes in part from the animation although it might not be related. At times the film tries a little too hard to be super grand and emotional. We get lingering shots at the water as it splashes or the moon in the sky. Characters will intently stand in the distance and it did make the pacing feel a little slow at the start. Everything’s just so dramatic and I think it gets to be a little too overdone at some points. Of course this isn’t the kind of thing that would hurt the film’s score but you tend to see this in films where they are really proud of the animation. Happens a lot in Pokemon as we stare at the grass blades twirling in the wind.

The film can also be a little cheeky with mild fanservice when Shaina and Marin are fighting. Could just be more dramatic shots that the movie is going for and since we see that for the environment, it’s possible that it just extends to the characters too. Nothing quite like the obvious camera angles you’d see in SAO though so it’s super mild at best. Saint Seiya is a franchise that really doesn’t have much fanservice in general and has always stayed strong there.

So we’ve talked about the heroes and how Seiya steals the show here. (Ikki’s role is just too small for him to take center stage this time. It was nice to see him and Andromeda teaming up as equals though. It shows some really good character development for Andromeda at this point) Now lets talk about the villains. Artemis is like Pandora in that she acts a lot more like how you would expect the evil god to be. She isn’t afraid to go on the battle field and talk tough to the heroes. I liked her well enough as one of the villains.

Then you have the Angels. From the 3, only the one who fights Seiya really gets a role. The other two look tough and talk tough but they’re obliterated in short order. The angel who fought Seiya actually got a twist involving Marin though and got a lot of moments to himself. He made for a good villain. Not good enough where I’d remember his name though although I could swear that they just called him “Angel” each time while the other two had true names. Either way he made for a good villain.

Finally you have Apollo who shows up at the end. He talks tough and backs it up with how he looks there. My money would still be on Seiya to beat him if he was at full power, but as discussed that wasn’t the case this time. Apollo works as a good final boss and I’d like to see where he stacks up with the rest of the gods who are so upset at this state of affairs. Seiya does land a good hit but it doesn’t seem likely that he would get a chance to win until the sequels. Apollo’s appearance is extremely brief as the film just ends but he makes the most of it.

I should mention the Gold Saints have a quick cameo here but they are quickly discarded as the gods have the last laugh. I would have liked to have seen them fight a bit or something but I guess there wasn’t much they could do there. It was a fun little cameo but at the same time it feels like they didn’t get to do anything. At least have them send the heroes some gold armor or something, that would have been cool. It’s been a rough road for the gold saints over the last few arcs….actually for the whole series to be honest.

As for the ending, it’s intentionally vague but here’s my take on it. Apollo decided to neutralize Seiya as a threat by erasing his memory along with Athena’s after defeating them. That’s why they’re now in a flower field just hanging out. It means the other Saints are going to have to hurry but it’s a fair bet to say there’s a slight time skip before the final scene so I wouldn’t be surprised if the rest of the Saints were already defeated as well. In the second film I’d expect to see the 5 Saints battling 5 gods or something like that. The more I think about a possible sequel, the more hyped I get.

Overall, Heaven’s Overture is a great film. We’ve got all the hype action you could want and a great cast of characters. The animation is excellent and there’s always something going on. The film can be a bit dramatic but I can appreciate the boldness of nerfing Seiya for a while. It’s better than just having these guys wreck him, now that would have been iffy. Maybe if we’re lucky we’ll get a novel continuation or something at some point. Either way if you’re a Saint Seiya fan then you’ll want to check this one out at some point. It’s a nice look at a possible future path.

Overall 8/10

The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning Reviewv


This game started Spyro off on a whole new adventure. I’ve certainly had this on the list for a very long time and now I can say that I’ve finally checked it out. It doesn’t really stack up to most of the other Spyro games though. While I do enjoy the combat aspect of it, the game ended up being really repetitive most of the time so even the story doesn’t totally make up for that. Still a good game in its own right, but I’m not ready to put this at the top.

The game starts off with Spyro being raised at the dragonfly village. He is the legendary dragon foretold by the prophecies but he doesn’t know that and so he just hangs out with Sparx and has a good ole time. The two of them are goofing off when the area is attacked and we find out that the entire world is in danger. There’s no time for the dragon elders to explain everything to Spyro just yet but he needs to awaken all of the elders so that together they can stop Cynder from waking up the ultimate evil. Is Spyro really ready for such a tremendous responsibility?

Right away there is one thing I do like a lot about this game and that’s the banter with Spyro and Sparx. Sparx is a character right out of an old, cheesy kind of film where every line has to be a joke about something. It’s a huge change from how he acts in the old games and it’s an improvement. This time Sparx is actually rather memorable. In general the game’s dialogue is a lot more fun than usual and that’s good since this game was all about having a deeper story than the rest. The big voices they got for the game were used well and it enhances the story. I would say this has the best story for a Spyro game.

That said, there is something which keeps this from matching up to the other Spyro games and that’s the gameplay. Initially I was pretty happy to see that this was going for more of an action approach. Gone are the collectathon days. At the same time, this means that the levels feel a lot more constricting as there isn’t free roam around the place now. Additionally, the gameplay is very limited. It’s more repetitive than you’d expect as you use the same two moves over and over. You either smack opponents in close range or you use your breath to attack them. You can level up by beating enemies but I would always skip the ones I wasn’t forced to fight because of how many there are.

At one point I thought I was stuck or not supposed to be fighting the enemies because I beat dozens and new ones kept spawning. I had to check online and it wasn’t a glitch I just had to keep fighting. After a long time they all went down. It just seemed to pad out the time for no real reason. That said, you’ll still have enough energy to max out at least two of your elements by the time the game is through. I would recommend maxing out electricity first because then you can cheese almost the whole game. See, the electricity allows you to throw enemies like telekinesis and almost every level has a ledge where you can fall off. Just park yourself by it and throw every enemy over. They instantly lose all health and that speeds up a lot of these never ending fights.

Additionally, even a small fall will destroy most enemies so if you see some stairs or small drops you can use them as well. Just keep on throwing the enemies and you’re good. As for the bosses, each time you take out a third of their health it’s considered a check point so if you lose one of your unlimited lives then they don’t recover that health again. So just make sure you land some hits and you’re good. Most of the bosses will end up being easy as a result. The only really tough one was this fire train you have to fight. It moves so quickly and there are so many constant explosions that it can be tough to even see what is on the screen half the time. It just all blends together as explosive smoke which makes it difficult to aim. That boss took me several tries to defeat before I was able to get a win out.

It would have been even more difficult without having the fire attacks maxed out so focus on fire and thunder in the game. You’ll never need the other elements that you get. A little more variety in the gameplay would have just been nice or more depth to the combat system. With a good combat system you can have me fighting enemies for hours and I’d be good. Of course while this doesn’t match up to the other Spyro games I would still call it a pretty good one. I had a good amount of fun and the game isn’t all that long anyway so you’ll be done in a flash.

In terms of replay value it doesn’t seem like there’s much. I suppose you can try to get more exp but there’s no post game or anything. This is really the kind of game where you are playing for the story experience and you probably won’t pick it up again. The soundtrack isn’t very memorable but I thought the graphics were really good. I liked the artstyle here as it really pops out at you from the start. The colors are sharp and this has aged super well in that respect.

Overall, I’m looking forward to the sequel. Even if the gameplay wasn’t perfect, the story was a lot of fun. I’m hoping they can keep the good writing and solid enemy threats at the ready. It’s a shame that Cynder won’t be as powerful in the next installment but I’m hoping she will still get some action here. I don’t know how long it’ll be until I get the sequel but it’s definitely a title that’s on my list so I will get to it. The Spyro legacy cannot be left uncompleted. If you have not played this game yet then I would definitely recommend it!

Overall 7/10

Eye of the Tiger Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

Eye of the Tiger is definitely one of those films that gives revenge titles a bad name. I mean, it’s probably not a genre you want to see a whole lot of anyway as it’s difficult to succeed in so many attempts would fail but this one just never stood a chance. It puts the main character in a rough environment where everyone is evil or mean and so by the time Buck gets his revenge, there isn’t a lot left to fight for. That’s usually the downfall with revenge films, at least this one has a good soundtrack though even if the timing is often pretty bad.

The movie starts with Buck finally getting out of jail. He made some friends in there but it’s time to head home. Unfortunately his small town is even worse off than usual. The place is run by a corrupt sheriff who is in league with gangs that go around assaulting everyone and forcing people to live in a life of fear. Nobody has ever risen up to do anything about this and they all just look the other way. Well, Buck isn’t going to do that and he foils one of the gang’s attacks. They retaliate and murder Buck’s wife while also putting his daughter in the hospital. Buck aims to take them all down now but to do so he will need a lot of weapons. Additionally he will also have to go up against the cops who are in the pocket of the gang.

In this movie it’s nearly everyone teaming up against Buck. The only person on Buck’s side is his old friend J.B. and even then that guy usually just warns Buck not to fight against the villains since he thinks the lead will lose. Buck doesn’t like backing down though so he plans to fight either way. He has some good equipment and plans like when he stretches a wire across the street to take one villain down. The problem is that he has to beat a lot of them and quickly or they just run to the police to have Buck arrested. As the film goes on Buck starts carrying his gun at all times which is a good idea. At least with that he always has a fighting chance.

Buck definitely should have left with the family as soon as he got back though. I don’t think your life can ever be all that easy if the cops have it out for you. We know that the Sheriff is willing to go quite far to mess with Buck right from the start given that he was put into jail on account of that guy. So just leave the place and start roots somewhere else. That’s absolutely the best thing to do and the only way to get out of this cycle. By the time Buck decides to go it’s unfortunately too late. So the rest of the film will be bitter sweet at best since his wife isn’t around anymore.

I’ll still give Buck props as a main character because he stands up to the gang and does what’s right. It would have been easy to have just walked away or ignored what they were doing but he didn’t do any of that. So definitely some credit there. He also does well in the fights even through to the end when he takes on the leader of the gang. Buck doesn’t go down easy and never loses a true 1 on 1 fight in the movie. The guy just keeps going forward and landing hits until he can’t anymore.

As mentioned, Buck’s friend J.B. takes a long while to actually step in and help though. It’s understandable why he doesn’t want to get mixed up in any of this but it does mean that I’m probably not going to be rooting for him a whole lot. If Buck had some help sooner the film could have potentially been over a lot quicker. The rest of the police officers all look terrible as they work for the corrupt sheriff. The whole town is complicit to an extent as they all look the other way and allow him to stay in control. It’s no wonder that the village is under such tough times. There’s nobody there who is willing to fight back against the villains.

One area that holds the film back big time is how gritty the whole thing is. It’s got Mad Max vibes from the start with the gang going around and attacking people. If they were just murdering people then that’d be one thing but of course they’re all going after the women and piling on the crimes. It’s always a bad way to build up tension in these films, having the villains just be murderers is good enough to show why they need to be stopped. No reason to go any further than that. The extra details are what puts the film in the red right away and it’s hard to get out from there.

Then as I mentioned the music timing is always very off. It is nice to hear the Eye of the Tiger song since that one’s always filled with energy. This film has some good heroic themes as well. The issue is that they will play right after a tragic scene or during one. It’s like the film’s trying to say this is a happy moment even while the heroes are still taking hits. The timing was never quite right and it’s hard to get into the music and experience the hype/fun that’s going on because you know that the moment just isn’t happy yet. The only time the song works is the very last time it plays because that’s after the big battle and so it makes sense to celebrate. The other attempts fell flat.

Overall, Eye of the Tiger is a film I would avoid. It’s a classic revenge film through and through where Buck is put through the wringer so you can get some satisfaction when he inevitably caches the villains. The reason why this genre is tough is because it’s easy to make things go too far in how much the villains are winning so it’s just hollow even when the lead gets his revenge. I don’t think the wife needed to die here and additionally the gang could have just been about getting rich and murdering people. It would be a lot less dark and would help the film as a whole. In the end, you should definitely watch Taken instead if you want a better revenge film.

Overall 2/10